Time: 9:00 PM CT
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)
Fresh off a narrow win last night in Phoenix, the Oklahoma City Thunder (37-27) is hitting the second half of a back-to-back tonight against the Trail Blazers (36-26). The divisional match-up is the third meeting between the teams this season and carries playoff implications in a crowded Western Conference.
Due to extreme volatility in the middle of the pack, Portland enters this game as the current three-seed, followed by San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Minnesota, all gridlocked at 12.5 games back of first place. New Orleans is a half-game back in seventh, with Denver two games back in eighth.
A look at the standings:
A win over the Blazers would be an important one for OKC, as Portland leads the season-series 2-0 and could lock-up the tie-breaker by coming out on top. Tip-off is at 9:00 PM CT and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. Portland is a 3.5-point favorite according to Odds Shark.
Update: Carmelo Anthony is out tonight for rest purposes.
- Andre Roberson: Out – Knee
- Carmelo Anthony: Out — Rest
- Maurice Harkless: Questionable — Knee
Thunder: Russell Westbrook, Josh Huestis, Paul George, Patrick Patterson, Steven Adams
Blazers: Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jusuf Nurkic
|Team||EFG%||FTA Rate||TOV%||OREB%||OPP EFG%||OPP FTA||OPP TOV%||OPP OREB%|
Click to Enlarge
Thunder O & D
Blazers O & D
Portland leads the season-series 2-0.
Nov. 5: POR 103, OKC 99 [BOX SCORE]
Jan. 9: POR 117, OKC 106 [BOX SCORE]
Corey Brewer. This is news.
Blazer Backcourt. Portland is 7-3 over its last 10 games and surging in the standings due in large part to the play of its outstanding backcourt. The Blazers are led in scoring by Damian Lillard at 26.5 PPG, followed by CJ McCollum at 21.6 PPG. Both men are deadly from anywhere on the court and capable of getting extremely hot from long distance. The Thunder defense will have its hands full with the duo tonight.
Defending the Three. Portland enters as the NBA’s third-best three-point shooting team, converting on 37.6 percent of attempts this season. They’ve hit the OKC defense for 10+ threes in both match-ups this season and boast a stable of capable shooters. McCollum shoots 41.6 percent from deep, Al-Farouq Aminu and Shabazz Napier both hit 39 percent, and Lillard shoots a hair short of 37 percent himself. Paul George will be a very busy guy on the perimeter. Josh Huestis will need to carry some of the burdens, as well.
Big Men. Jusuf Nurkic torched OKC in the first two meetings, averaging 22.5 points and 8 rebounds against the Thunder this season. Steven Adams has put up 10 points and 5 rebounds on the other side of that match-up and will need to be much better on both ends against Nurkic tonight.
No Foolishness. Despite winning five out of the last six games — including three straight — nothing about this Thunder team is very stable at the moment. Uninspired efforts have led to narrow victories over the Magic, Mavericks, and Suns, but Portland is an entirely different beast. The Blazers will walk all over the Thunder if allowed, so OKC simply must be better. This is a game with potentially a lot at stake.